It’s been too long, my friends. My apologies for the long pause here at Lingwë. The reason should be obvious enough to regular readers — my book has been occupying just about all of my free time up until just the last few days. But even so, I’ve been remiss in making the announcement that my book, Tolkien and the Study of His Sources: Critical Essays, is now published and available for purchase!
It can be ordered directly from McFarland, as well as from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, and many other retailers. If you’re going to order from Amazon, I’d like to request that you use this link — it has my affiliate tag attached to it, which will earn me just a little bit extra on each book. This helps to offset the fact that I will be making a smaller royalty on copies sold through Amazon. This book was never about getting rich — and I certainly won’t — but every cent helps underwrite my research career. Getting to conferences, for example, comes entirely out of my own pocket. Anyway, you get my drift; no need for me to nag you. :)
Now the real, somewhat obsessive fun begins: watching my Amazon rank go up and down, keeping an eye on the price of the book, pouring over sales data from BookScan (of which I’ve only just gotten the first update today). The highest Amazon rank I’ve reached so far is in the neighborhood of 78,000. That sounds dismal, I know, but it’s really not — not when you consider that Amazon has over 8 million books in its inventory. In its particular genre (science-fiction and fantasy / criticism and biography, or something like that), my book has been ranked as high as #45, and when you count just the books about Tolkien, it’s been as high as fourth or fifth place. That is certainly nothing to complain about!
Copies are also wending their way to journals for review. I am very excited to see what kind of critical reception the larger Tolkien community has in store for my book. It will be some time before these reviews start appearing, especially in the case of annuals like Tolkien Studies, but at the risk of immodesty, I have reason to expect a good response. In fact, I’ll give you three reasons.
A few weeks ago, I sent out page proofs to a few colleagues in the hopes of a blurb or two. All three of these notable Tolkien scholars read my book and answered with generous and glowing comments, and I wanted to share them below. These endorsements appear on the back cover of the book as well, where the one from Verlyn Flieger was edited for space. I give her full endorsement here.
“The most exhaustive examination yet published of demonstrable, probable, and conjectural sources for Tolkien’s legendarium ransacks myth, history, astronomy, literature and popular culture for clues to Tolkien’s raw material. This collection will stimulate readers and scholars alike.”I hope those of you with an interest in Tolkien will get a copy of the book, read it, and share your thoughts with me. If you read and enjoy the book, a positive review on Amazon, even a short one, would be much appreciated. Positive reviews — like blurbs — help convince people who might otherwise be undecided.
—Verlyn Flieger, author of Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien’s World
“This critical collection provides a solid defense of the sometimes-maligned literary discipline of ‘source-hunting’ along with outstanding examples of the value of this approach in understanding the depths of Tolkien’s literary creation.”
—Douglas A. Anderson, author of The Annotated Hobbit
“A valuable book for anyone serious about Tolkien. It not only adds new, confirming material to what is known about Tolkien’s sources but covers areas of influence previously denied or underplayed.”
—Marjorie J. Burns, author of Perilous Realms: Celtic and Norse in Tolkien’s Middle-earth
I would also be grateful to anyone who recommends the book to their local or university library, or both. Now that school is getting ready to start, if you are teaching Tolkien please give some thought to assigning my book to your students, or at least recommending it to them. And please feel free to share my blog, announce my book on Facebook and Twitter, share links to Amazon or McFarland, etc. We starving scholars have to find a way to eke out a meager living, don’t we? :)